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 Friday, 3 January, 2003, 14:06 GMT
Israel quells West Bank prison riot
Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian
A report says 1,000 Palestinians are being held without charge
The Israeli army says it has restored order after a night of rioting at a detention centre in the West Bank.

About 40 Palestinian prisoners were receiving treatment for the effects of the tear gas used to quell the protests, the army said.

One soldier was also slightly injured in the operation at the centre near Ramallah which houses hundreds of detainees, it added.

There was a disturbance and an army force at the camp used tear gas to disperse the violent demonstration

Israeli army
A leading Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem, called for the immediate release of Palestinian detainees who were being held even though they were not charged with specific offences.

But the army issued a statement saying it was following international guidelines.

It said the process of "administrative detention" was an important weapon in the struggle against those involved in acts of terror and violence against Israeli citizens.

Camps raided

Violence erupted at the Ofer centre late on Thursday when detainees set fire to their shelters in a protest against alleged mistreatment, a Palestinian prisoners' group said.

The rioting came hours after Israeli forces raided refugee camps in the Gaza Strip looking for suspected militants amid an upsurge of violence in which five Palestinians and an Israeli were killed.

Flames were seen rising from a tent used to house prisoners at the detention centre, according to reports.

Figures released this week show that more than 1,000 Palestinians are being held without charge.

According to B'Tselem, this would only be permitted under international law as an emergency measure. It said normal safeguards are being routinely abused.

A statement from the army said the number of detentions reflected "the volume of terror activity that the military and the state of Israel is up against".

Courtroom drama

Earlier, a Palestinian was shot dead following a siege at a house in northern Israel, while three Palestinian teenagers and a militant were killed apparently attempting to attack Jewish settlements.

A militant Palestinian group, meanwhile, said it killed an elderly Israeli, whose burnt body was found in a car in the West Bank.

In Tel Aviv, there were dramatic scenes at the trial of a major figure in the Palestinian uprising, Marwan Barghouti, who is accused of murder.

He was dragged - handcuffed and on his back - out of court after a confrontation with relatives of his alleged victims.

Families of Mr Barghouti's alleged victims shouted: "You killed my children, murderer."

Mr Barghouti tried to flash a victory sign, but he fell to the floor and was dragged away.

Mr Barghouti is charged with murdering 26 Israelis and belonging to a "terror organisation".

  The BBC's Barbara Plett
"Palestinians accused the soldiers of excessive force"

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21 Apr 02 | Middle East
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